Community Law Center

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Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

What happened at the Liquor Board on September 11, 2014.

September 16, 2014

Hearings began at 11:14am, with all three commissioners present.

11:00 a.m. cases

I: Transfers and Amendments.

Applicant James Trujillo and William Hotaling
Business Name Second Chance Operating Ventures, LLC
Trading As Baltimore Sports Bar
Address 1400 Warner Street
Type of License Class “BD7″ BWL License
Reason for hearing Request for live entertainment, and for license to be moved from 406 E. Baltimore Street to 1400 Warner Street.
Hearing notes

Mr. Peter Prevas, for his client, informed the Board that the proposed establishment is two blocks from the Ravens stadium. The building is an old warehouse, which also used to be an antiques store. The business will “substantially clean up that area, totally remodel the area.” The property is currently used for stadium event parking and tailgating. Mr. William Hotaling is the “qualifying City resident,” according to Prevas. Mr. Trujillo will be the full-time operator. He has 30 years’ experience in the industry, having managed and done design and construction work for restaurants.

Commissioner Jones asked the applicants to define their live entertainment request. Mr. Trujillo responded that right now, their plan is just for DJs. The leased space is 10,000 square feet. The front half of the building will be a sports bar, which will be open every day. The “live entertainment” in this front space will be “very negligible.” The back half of the building will be a multifunctional space for private parties, DJs, and dancing. The total capacity of the space will be around 700 people. Commissioner Jones said that the place is too big for him to give a blank okay for live entertainment. Prevas called the proposed DJ forward to testify about his following among young professionals.

Commissioner Moore asked, “has there been any community input?” Mr. Prevas responded that, because the property is located in an industrial zone, the applicants’ outreach has been to the business associations in the neighborhood, not to any community association, because, according to the applicants, “there is no association in that area.” A Cityview search shows eight potentially active business and community associations covering the property: Carroll/Camden Industrial Business Association, Gwynns Falls Trail Council, Southern District Police-Community Relations Council, Southwest Community Council, Inc., Citizens of Pigtown, Key Highway Task Force, Southwest Community Action Center, and Westport/Project T.O.O.U.R., Inc. Youth Council.

Moore pointed out that several parts of the application were not filled out completely, including the purchase price of the business, Mr. Trujillo’s employment history for the past 10 years, and the applicant’s interview form. Mr. Prevas told Commissioner Moore that the purchase price of the license was $50,000 cash. He promised to provide Mr. Trujillo’s employment history in the form of his resume to the Board. And the applicants had been interviewed by Inspector Joann Martin; he was not sure why there was no interview form in the file. The executive secretary confirmed that the interview took place on August 11, 2014.

Zoning M-2-3
Neighborhood Carroll- Camden Industrial Area
Area demographics The Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance (BNIA) did not have demographics available for Washington Village/Pigtown.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes, yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 2500 Boston St, Ste 104(B), Baltimore, MD 21224
Attorney for licensee Mr. Peter Prevas
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved for transfer and live entertainment.
Vote tally Transfer: unanimous. Live entertainment (2-1, Jones dissenting).
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicant Lonnie Abdallah and Bernard Truesdale
Business Name Itchy Palmz, LLC
Trading As The Loop
Address 4238 Frederick Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7″ Beer, Wine and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request to add outdoor table service.
Hearing notes

Mr. Melvin Kodenski appeared with the two applicants. Kodenski explained that the establishment is a “food operation” and submitted a few photos of the courtyard where the applicants hope to place outdoor tables. He added that the applicants had wanted live entertainment as well, but the community was opposed, so they withdrew that request.

Applicant Bernard Truesdale testified that he has been active in meeting with the community and has been a licensee at the establishment for seven years with no problems from the Liquor Board. The property has had a liquor license for a long time; Mr. Truesdale said it had been there since 1920. (The 18th amendment to the United States Constitution prohibiting the production, transport and sale of alcohol was in effect from 1920 to 1933.)

Chairman Ward noted that he has a note in the file that the corporate entity is not in good standing. Kodenski responded, “I don’t handle the corporate thing, but I’ll look into it.” Truesdale said, “we’re paid up.” Kodenski added that, before the applicants get final permission for the outdoor tables, they will present a Certificate of Good Standing.

Zoning R-7
Neighborhood Irvington
Area demographics 8% White, 88% Black, 0% Asian; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 36% households have children under age 18; 19% households live under the poverty line; median household income: $33,504.32
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes, no.
Location of entity’s principal office 4238 Frederick Rd, Baltimore, MD 21229
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

In the 2014 legislative session, the Maryland state legislature passed a liquor reform bill, which requires that an application be complete before it is scheduled for a hearing. Completeness includes: (1) zoning approval or verification, (2) all required documents submitted, and (3) all fines and fees paid. In this case, the certificate of good standing was not submitted, and all fines and fees have not been paid. Specifically, the licensee has not submitted his annual Form 1 to the State Department of Assessments and Taxation and paid any required taxes. It is not sufficient under the new law (which went into effect in July 2014) for the licensee to submit the documents after the hearing; the application must be complete before the public hearing.

Applicant Farhad Zamanian
Business Name Z Corp, LLC
Trading As Grill Twelve 24
Address 1224 N. Charles Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Applying for a new Class “B” Beer, Wine and Liquor restaurant license under the provisions of Rule 2.08 requiring $200,000 in capital investment in restaurant fixtures and facilities and seating capacity for a minimum of 75 people. Also requesting outdoor table service and off-premises catering.
Hearing notes

Mr. Melvin Kodenski was present at the hearing with the applicant. He submitted a proposed menu and a document showing the proposed capital expenditures, as well as a diagram showing the seating capacity of the restaurant. The applicant plans to spend $559,000 on investments in fixtures and facilities. Kodenski submitted a petition in favor of the new license, which he said contained 285 signatures. The applicant also stated that he has met with Mr. Steve Johnson of the Mount Vernon Belvedere Association. Chairman Ward asked, “how much money has been spent up until now?” Mr. Zamanian responded that he has spent over $300,000 so far.

Commissioner Moore pointed out that many of the signatures on the petition submitted look very similar. She asked about two specific addresses associated with many signatures. Mr. Zamanian replied that those signatures came from residents of large apartment buildings nearby. When Moore pointed out five signatures in a row with the same handwriting, Mr. Zamanian replied that there were five or more people in the same family who wanted to sign, and the mother of the family signed for all of them. Moore asked, “do you have receipts for any of the expenditures that you have spent so far? Mr. Zamanian replied that he did not have receipts with him, but he can provide canceled checks in the future. Moore asked the executive secretary, “is that something that we can start having included [with the application]? it’s one thing to put it on a piece of paper and it’s another thing to provide documentation.” Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth said that the Board staff could start collecting that documentation for new licenses.

Zoning B-4-2
Neighborhood Mid-Town Belvedere
Area demographics 53% White, 32% Black, 8% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 6% households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $38,331; 5.5% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes, yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 3505 Englemeade Rd, Baltimore, MD 21208
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicant No name provided in docket
Business Name C and L Caton, LLC
Trading As Caton House Bar and Tavern
Address 1506 S. Caton Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7″ Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership.
Hearing notes

Mr. Melvin Kodenski appeared, with his client, the applicant. The property and business have been sold to new owners for $2 million. Mr. Kevin Saunders will stay on the license to help the new owner “and to be the Baltimore City resident.” Kodenski explained that the property is located in an industrial area, and there are no community groups in the neighborhood, as far as they know. A Cityview search for this property brought up three potential community associations that cover this area: Gwynns Falls Trail Council, Southwestern District Police-Community Relations Council, and Southwest Community Action Center.

Zoning B-2-1
Neighborhood Violetville
Area demographics 48% White, 36% Black, 2% Asian. 10% Hispanic ethnicity. 40% households have children under age 18. Median household income: $32,888.50
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes, yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 1506 S. Caton Ave, Baltimore, MD 21227
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed There was no name provided in the docket for this applicant.
Applicant No name provided in docket
Business Name Canton Cross Wine and Spirits, LLC
Trading As Canton Crossing Wine and Spirits
Address 3831 Boston Street
Type of License Class “BD7″ Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership of a CLass “BD7″ BWL License presently located at 105 S. Conkling Street.
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski represented the applicant for the license. He said that the Board should have a letter of support from the Canton Community Association for this license transfer, which will go to a wine store at the Canton Crossing Shopping Center.

Chairman Ward responded that the establishment already has a license, a 6-day Class D license. They would like to transfer in a BD-7. Kodenski said that was correct, and that the establishemtn would then “dispose of the D” license, possibly by transferring it to someone else in the same shopping center.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Canton Industrial Area
Area demographics 86% White, 4% Black, 3% Asian; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% households have children under age 18; median household income: $82,130
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes, yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 3831 Boston St, Baltimore, MD 21224
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

There was no name provided in the docket for this applicant.

Applicants Mark Anders and Bryson Keens
Business Name Roy’s of Baltimore, LLC
Trading As Roy’s
Address 720B Aliceanna Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request to add outdoor table service.
Hearing notes

Mr. Nicholas Callas represented applicant Bryson Keens. Mr. Keens has been the manager of Roy’s for ten years and has been with the company for fifteen years. Roy’s plans to serve alcohol at outdoor tables until 10pm on weekdays and 10:30pm on weekends. Roy’s serves Hawaiian fusion cuisine. The restaurant will install stanchions to separate the outdoor seating from the sidewalk, with planters and fencing.

Zoning B-2-4
Neighborhood Inner Harbor
Area demographics 80% White, 12% Black, 4% Asian. 3% Hispanic ethnicity. 11% households have children under age 18. Median household income: $78,578. 12% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes, yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 720B Aliceanna St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Attorney for licensee Mr. Nicholas Callas
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

II. Hardship Extensions

Applicant Giovanni Julian
Business Name (Secured Creditor)
Trading As N/A
Address 6589-91 St. Helena Avenue
Type of License Class “BD7″ Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension under provision of Article 2B Section 10-504(d).
Hearing notes

Mr. Kodenski represented the secured creditor and explained the history of this license. The building’s zoning for a tavern has fallen through, and the secured creditor would like to sell the license and move it out of the neighborhood. This is the fourth request for a hardship extension for this license. Mr. Julian has finally sold the property, at a loss, and “wants to recoup his costs.” Kodenski argued that, because Mr. Julian is a secured creditor, not the licensee, Article 2B section 10-504(d) does not apply to Julian and the Board cannot enforce it against him. The argument was that, because the secured creditor cannot “open” the business, he also could not “close” the business, which would trigger the 180-day rule under the statute.

Chairman Ward replied that the Liquor Board is not in the position of enforcing debts or securing debts.

Ms. Shirley Gregory, president of the St Helena Community Association, testified in opposition to the hardship extension. She noted that the bar was closed in October 2011 and has never opened since. There were all kinds of problems at the location. The property owners lost their nonconforming use for the bulding on May 1, 2014. The building recently went up for auction. She told the Board that this bar has been a problem for the St Helena community, and they do not want to see the bar become a problem in another community. In response to questioning from Commissioner Jones to Mr. Julian, Ms. Gregory said that the Julians did not try to sell the license until way after the time period had lapsed for both the liquor license and the nonconforming use for the building from zoning. They closed the business in 2011 and didn’t try to sell anything until 2013.

Commissioner Moore stated that there was a note in the file that said that September 21, 2010 was the last date that the establishment was open, not 2011.

Zoning R-6
Neighborhood St Helena
Area demographics 44% White, 25% Black, 2% 2 or more races; 20% Hispanic ethnicity; 32% households have children under age 18; median household income: $30,864.31; 22% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? N/A
Location of entity’s principal office N/A
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 1
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Denied
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicant Nimesh Shah and Darlene McNeil
Business Name Omkar, Inc.
Trading As Hillen Liquors
Address 5818 Hillen Road
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension under the provision of Article 2B Section 10-504 (d).
Hearing notes

Mr. Melvin Kodenski represented the applicants for the hardshipe extension. He explained that it is a “first” request for a hardship extension. He reminded the Board that there was a prior application to transfer the license to 4419 York Road, which the Board denied. On February 28, 2014, the applicant’s building was purchased by BG&E, so all the tenants of that building had to leave. Chairman Ward asked Mr. Shah whether he had received any compensation from BG&E for having to move his business. Mr. Shah said no, he did not receive any compensation, because his lease had ended. He did not know whether the other lessees received any compensation.

Zoning B-2-1
Neighborhood Loch Raven
Area demographics 7% White, 87% Black, 1% Asian; 2% Hispanic ethnicity; 31% households have children under age 18; median household income: $49,748.45; 11% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes, no.
Location of entity’s principal office 5818 Hillen Rd, Baltimore, MD 21239
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

III. Review of Pending Transfers

Applicant Erika Lasker and Sally Emburey
Business Name Langermann’s on Light, LLC
Trading As Langermann’s on Light
Address 1542 Light Street
Type of License Class “BD7″ Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Review of a transfer pending for more than 180 days.
Hearing notes

Mr. Prevas appeared before the Board, without his clients. He told the Board that the transfer application had been withdrawn by the applicants.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood South Baltimore
Area demographics 90% White, 3% Black, 3% Asian; 3% Hispanic ethnicity; 15% households have children under age 18; median household income: $73,342; 8% households live below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes, no.
Location of entity’s principal office 7407 Jeans Way, Ellicott City, MD 21043
Attorney for licensee Mr. Peter Prevas
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing No action necessary
Vote tally N/A
Portions of state law cited in decision N/A
Other reasons given for decision N/A
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed N/A
Applicant Gus Zissimos and Evanglos Ionnou
Business Name Kitsos, LLC
Trading As Zissimos Bar
Address 1023 W. 36th Street
Type of License Class “BD7″ Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Review of a transfer pending for more than 180 days.
Hearing notes

Mr. Evanglos Ionnou was present for the hearing, unrepresented. He explained several years of setbacks to the Board, mostly having to do with the fire marshall. The fire marshall told him that his building needed sprinklers, and he disagreed and spent years meeting with the marshall to try to change his mind. The “transfer” that has been pending is an application for live entertainment. Chairman Ward said, “you’ve gone way past the 180 days. You’re actually three years past it.”

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Hampden
Area demographics 77% White, 12% Black, 5% Asian; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 18% households have children under age 18; median household income: $54,278
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes, yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 505 Chadwick Rd, Lutherville, MD 21093
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Denied
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

IV. Request to Reopen.

Applicants Dilawar Khatkar and Jasvinder Khatkar
Business Name India Rasoi, Inc.
Trading As India Rasoi
Address 411 S. High Street
Type of License Class “BD7″ Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request to reopen after being closed for more than 90 days.
Hearing notes

Mr. Melvin Kodenski represented the licensees, who, he said, have been licensees at their location for 14 years. They tried to move their license to Broadway but they couldn’t move the license because there was a school within 300 feet of their proposed location. They have spoken with their neighbors, and no one is opposed, according to the licensees.

Commissioner Moore asked, “how long have they been closed?” Kodenski responded that he was not sure. Moore asked”has it been 180 days?” Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth said, no, that it had been between 90 and 180 days, but the licensees did not tell the Board how long it had been or on what date they closed.

Zoning B-3-2
Neighborhood Little Italy
Area demographics 58% Black, 29% White, 5% Asian; 7% Hispanic ethnicity; 29% of households have children under age 18; Average household income: $30,550.74; 35% households below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes, no.
Location of entity’s principal office 411 S. High St, Baltimore, MD 21202
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

1:00 p.m. cases

V. Violations.

Licensees Dennis Everette and Doewon Yi
Business Name Patterson Wine and Spirits, Inc.
Trading As Apple Tree Liquors
Address 4519 Patterson Avenue
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violations of: 1) Article 2B Section 12-107(a) on July 16, 2014, when an inspector from the Comptroller’s office found eleven 375 ml bottles of Hennesy Cognac reported stolen from a truck in Baltimore City. 2) Rule 4.10(a) on July 16, 2014, when an inspector of the Comptroller’s office found elevent 375 ml bottles of Hennesy Cognac reported stolen from a truck in Baltimore City. 3) Rule 4.18 on July 16, 2014, when an inspector from the Comptroller’s office found that the licensee did not keep complete and accurate records of the alcoholic beverages purchased.
Hearing notes

Mr. Melvin Kodenski and the two licensees were present at the hearing and admitted the charges. Chairman Ward asked what the difference is between the first two charges. Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth explained that one violation was of state law, Article 2B, and the other violation was of the Liquor Board’s Rules and Regulations.

Commissioner Moore asked where the stolen bottles came from? Kodenski replied that the thieves who stole the cognac were trying to dump the bottles that they could and that most of the bottles went to New York state. Moore asked again, and more specifically, how the bottles ended up at Apple Tree Liquors? Kodenski replied that some men offered the licensee a case of cognac at half of what the normal price was. Kodenski added that the Comptroller’s agents had seized the stolen bottles. There were 11 bottles on the shelf, and the licensee had bought a case of 12, so he had, presumably, sold one. Kodenski pointed out that the lost tax to the Comptroller is around $10. Moore replied, “it’s not the tax, it’s the taking.”

Kodenski told the Board that the licensee has been at his location since 2008. He was found guilty of having an illegal poker machine earlier in the year, which he got rid of. The licensee was cooperative and admitted his fault to the Comptroller’s inspector. He forfeited the rest of the case of cognac. Kodenski said, “there’s some people that buy it all the time and just never get caught.”

Agent Kevin Burley, from the Comptroller’s office, corroborated Kodenski’s statement. The store owner was cooperative once he was caught, Burley said. He did not try to hide the fact that the bottles were stolen or that he had purchased them illegally from someone who sold the bottles to him out of the back of a white van at a reduced price.

Zoning R-4
Neighborhood Reisterstown Station
Area demographics 28% White, 63% Black, 1% Asian; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 27% households have children under age 18; median household income: $37,372.32; 18% of households living below the poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes, yes.
Location of entity’s principal office 4159 Patterson Ave, Baltimore, MD 21215
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing Responsible for violations 1 and 2, which were merged together. The Board did not address the third violation listed on the docket.
Vote tally Unanimou
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

Chairman Ward said that he would like to merge the first and second violation, because they describe the same set of facts. He settled on a fine of $1,000, since this incident was not a first violation within three years. Jones said, “that sounds good.” Moore agreed.

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed The Board did not mention the third violation; perhaps they intended to merge it with the first two.

Reconsideration

Applicant Richard Davis
Business Name Steel Drum Cafe, LLC
Trading As Calypso Cafe
Address 771 Washington Boulevard
Type of License Class “BD7″ Beer, Wine, and Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for reconsideration of the Board’s decision of April 24, 2014.
Hearing notes

Mr. Robert Dickerson was present to protest the renewal of the license for the Tilted Pig, along with 4-5 other neighbors. Dickerson lives directly across the street from the establishment.

Mr. Hurdle made a preliminary motion to dismiss the petition in opposition to the renewal of the license, because the petition did not say that the signatories are not holders of liquor licenses. Article 2B says that neighbors who wish to protest the renewal of a liquor license must not be liquor license holders. Hurdle also raised the 200-foot rule again. Chairman Ward denied Mr. Hurdle’s preliminary motion. Speaking about the 200-foot rule, Ward said, “it’s the most ridiculous rule I’ve ever heard in my life” and “it’s a rule which makes protests impossible. It’s an impossible rule. It’s an unfair rule.”

Mr. Dickerson then continued with his case. He lives right across the street from the Tilted Pig. The place originally opened up as a sports bar. They have consistently hosted live entertainment without permission from the Board. They are also consistently over the capacity of the building. The licensee has been cited and found guilty of live entertainment without a license and being over capacity. Dickerson submitted many months’ worth of flyers advertising live entertainment, as well as photographs of live entertainment and photographs of DJs who perform at the Tilted Pig. Dickerson said that the live entertainment without permission was on ongoing thing, not a one or two time matter.

Chairman Ward asked, “do you agree that you do not have permission for live entertainment?” Mr. Hurdle answered for his clients that they did understand this. Dickerson said that the Tilted Pig is still violating the law. He submitted information about a CD release party, hosted by DJ Meal Ticket, from a month and a half before the hearing. Dickerson said that he monitors the Twitter feeds of the establishment; he said that there have been other violations which have not been heard before the Board yet. The inspector who wrote the reports is out on medical leave. Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth confirmed that there are pending violation charges.

Mr. Dickerson continued with his case. At closing time, the bar ejects “massive amounts of people into the street at 1am. It looks like the Pigtown festival at 1:00 in the morning.” He then provided the Board with video footage, taken from inside his home, of many incidents from April 2013 to March 2014. The footage, shown to Commissioners on a laptop, could not be seen from the audience; Mr. Dickerson described the date of each video and what it showed. The videos showed many patrons on the street: some passed out on the sidewalk, some extremely loud and inebriated, some turning on loud music from parked cars and hanging out with Tilted Pig staff in the doorway of the bar. Multiple videos showed loud arguments and other yelling, and at least one showed a fistfight. Dickerson said that, in the interest of time, he did not show the Board all of the videos that he had, but he was trying to convey a “pattern of flouting the rules of the liquor license.” The licensee’s strategy, according to Dickerson is to pack in as many people as possible into the bar. Since one of the DJs stopped performing at the Tilted Pig, the establishment has been quieter, but Friday nights are now ramping up more. (Previously, Tuesday nights were the problem nights.)

Dickerson then submitted a list of all of the 311 and 911 calls made about the Tilted Pig during the time period in question. He did not have them added up, but Commissioner Jones pointed out that there are around 4 single-spaced pages of requests, all tied to the Tilted Pig’s address.

When asked whether Dickerson had tried to work with the licensee, he replied that he had tried to tell the licensee that the music and patrons were too loud. After the licensee told him on three separate occasions that it would not happen again, the landlord of the building accused Dickerson of libel, and told him that any further communication would have to be through a lawyer. When the Commissioners asked him if there were any improvements to the conditions, Dickerson responded, no and that it had gotten a lot worse.

Dickerson submitted more evidence taken from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram of overcrowding and illegal live entertainment. Mr. Hurdle objected to these screenshots from social media, because he said that anyone could have uploaded them to the Tilted Pig’s page.

On cross-examination, Hurdle asked whether Dickerson had ever been inside the establishment to check whether there was a DJ. Dickerson replied that he had not. Hurdle asked, how many of the 84 calls did you call in yourself? Dickerson replied, maybe 12. Hurdle asked, “do you know what their special is on Tuesdays?” Dickerson said, “it used to be dollar crabs.” Hurdle replied, “that’s correct.” Hurdle then asked whether it was possible that the crowds came from Jigg’s, which is a bar located a block south of the Tilted Pig. Dickerson did not know whether it was possible, because he doesn’t usually witness people coming out of Jigg’s.

Commissioner Moore asked Mr. Bernard Sanders, the manager of the Tilted Pig, whether he recognized the photos and flyers submitted by Mr. Dickerson. Sanders responded that a party promoter could have screenshotted the Tilted Pig’s logo and used it without their permission. Moore responded that the images that Mr. Dickerson had provided match up with the video shown and the complaints. She said, “there is internal consistency. there’s a story that’s being told.” Sanders responded that when they have noise complaints, they turn the noise down. He said that the Tilted Pig staff have been cooperative. He complained that the liquor board inspector “kind of killed our business. The Liquor Board, they came every week for 10-11 weeks straight. Why? We’re not doing anything wrong.” Mr. Hurdle added that the owners of the license are trying now to move the license out of the neighborhood because of the constant complaints.

The Commissioners and Hurdle questioned Dickerson about whether, when and why the nuisance issues have slowed down at the establishment since March 2014. Dickerson responded that the nuisance complaints have lessened since the second Liquor Board violation in March 2014, but they have not stopped.

Ms. Virginia Creek testified next, as a community member protesting the renewal of the license. She lives one block over from Washington Boulevard on Ramsay Street. She took notes on various incidents with the Tilted Pig between June 13, 2013 and February 18, 2014. She told the Board that she has personally experienced nuisances because of the Tilted Pig at least two times per week. Starting at 8:30pm, cars speed through the neighborhood, patrons walk down the street arguing, fighting, and screaming, going to and coming from the bar. They loiter and leave trash in the street and sell and use illegal drugs. The free valet parking that the Tilted Pig offers leads to a lot of outside cars parked in the neighborhood. Residents can’t find parking spots near their own homes. On July 16, 2013, she was awakened by loud cursing and music. There were two intoxicated women in the street, one of whom Ms. Creek saw urinate in the middle of the street. She has witnessed the same thing three other times. Creek has made numerous calls to the police. She has lived in the neighborhood all 60 years of her life. Sometimes, she is afraid to sit on her own steps or walk around the corner because of the Tilted Pig’s patrons. She is tired of being awakened at night. She added, to address Mr. Hurdle’s questions from earlier, Jigg’s is a neighborhood bar that neighborhood people go to; it does not attract same crowd as the Tilted Pig. Creek said that the noise has lessened somewhat, but the neighbors continue to be plagued by noise, trash, and constant disturbances. She said that the Tilted Pig is not a good fit for the neighborhood and is detrimental to the community’s future growth. She asked the Board not to let one bad business chase away residents.

Mr. Hurdle cross-examined Ms. Creek about her testimony. Hurdle asked whether Creek was sure that the women were going to the Tilted Pig. Ms. Creek said that she saw the women go inside the establishment after they urinated in the street. Hurdle clarified, “before she was a patron, she urinated in the street.” Creek replied, “yes.” When asked about Jigg’s, Creek said that it is not a problem for the neighborhood. She said that old men sit around that bar all day and talk and drink a little beer. In comparison, young adults go to the Tilted Pig, and they get out of control. Mr. Hurdle asked the neighbor if the noise and parking irritations could be due to the proximity to the M & T Bank Stadium; Ms. Creek said no, they were because of the Tilted Pig. Creek said that normally, her “neighborhood is very quiet; you can hear a pin drop.”

Mr. Terry Adelsberger testified as one of the owners of the Tilted Pig. He told the Board that he “takes care of organization of [the Tilted Pig]” and does work behind the scenes. After the violations issued by the board in the spring of 2014, he said that he made sure that everybody in the bar changed their ways and complied with the inspectors. He “fired everybody” and replaced all of the security personnel. Adelsberger continued, “we’ve got a few neighbors who don’t want any young black people on that block.” Commissioner Moore interrupted Adelsberger immediately and told him that the Commmissioners would not hear allegations of racism unless Mr. Adelsberger can substantiate them. Chairman Ward added, “let me add on to that. In my courtroom, it was a tactic to raise the issue of race where there was absolutely no evidence that racism existed.” He told Adelsberger that if he knew of specific neighbors who had said something of concern, he could bring it up in the hearing, but for Adelsberger “to make a blanket statement is outrageous” and “only used for purpose of prejudice.”

Adelsberger continued with his testimony. He said that he himself had made most of the 911 and 311 calls that Dickerson submitted to the Board. He said that, in March, when they were very busy, “we got violations for anything we did minutely out of order.” When the establishment received violations, the manager would close down the whole bar and turn everyone out on the street, and the patrons made noise and caused disorder. He then testified that the bar had changed their operations to comply with the law and that “business is down a zillion percent.” One of the Commissioners asked whether the Tilted Pig had had any large crowds lately, and Adelsberger said, “no. If we did, it would be good!” Under questioning from the commissioners, Mr. Adelsberger said that he is at the bar every day, but not in the evenings. He said, “I’m 66 now; I’m in bed at 9:00.” Chairman Ward took another look at the 911 and 311 call list, and said that the documents showed that most of the calls were from the middle of the night, during times that Adelsberger had testified that he was never in the bar.

Adelsberger responded to the evidence provided by the neighbors of large crowds in the street. He said that young people hang out in front of the 7-11 convenience store and the dollar store nearby. He said that the noise and the “hollering” are from young people loitering by those stores, not in front of the Tilted Pig.

During the hearing, Mr. Sanders’ cell phone rang more than once, and Mr. Adelsberger often interrupted the commissioners. After Sanders’ cell phone rang the second time, Ward turned to Mr. Hurdle and said, “you’re in charge of your clients. This is outrageous. What is wrong with him?” Mr. Hurdle apologized for Sanders and said that his daughter was calling him.

Moore said to Adelsberger, “you mentioned that you’re a one-third owner of the bar. Who owns the other two-thirds?” Mr. Adelsberger responded, “Bernard Sanders and Mr. Richard Davis.” Moore asked, “is [Davis] here?” He responded, “no, he’s super sick.” Toward the end of the commissioners’ questions, Moore asked Adelsberger, “have you had anything to drink today?” Adelsberger said, “no.” Moore said, “Your testimony is coming out completely inconsistent.” Adelsberger responded, “I’m telling the truth, I swear to God.”

Mr. Bernard Sanders was the last to testify, as the day to day manager. As he began speaking, Commissioner Moore told him to stand up straight and to speak into the microphone, because he was leaning very heavily on the podium and hunched over. He said that he makes sure that the bar has enough food and liquor to get through the night, and he usually leaves around 7pm to go to his other job in Washington DC. He corroborated Mr. Adelsberger’s testimony, that the licensees did not know that they did not have permission for live entertainment and they did not know that dancing was considered live entertainment.

Zoning B-2-3
Neighborhood Washington Village/Pigtown
Area demographics N/A
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes, no.
Location of entity’s principal office 771 Washington Blvd.; Baltimore, MD 21230
Attorney for licensee Mr. Abraham Hurdle
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 4
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Renewal denied.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision

Chairman Ward said, “the Liquor Board is responsible for the regulation of the privilege of dispensing alcohol.” He said that the Tilted Pig was knowingly violating the law for a long period of time, and it wasn’t until the Liquor Board inspector issued a violation that the issue stopped. The neighborhood has been terrorized and has been required to come down to testify. The question, according to Ward is, should the license have been renewed. There’s been testimony about the licensee’s improvement since March. But Ward reiterated that the neighborhood has been terrorized and there’s absolutely no question that what was going on is something that no one could live with. Ward concluded, “I feel that the community should not have to defend itself only after the total breakdown of law and order and have to come back in and hope that the bar would not do it again.” The bar has been a “total utter disgrace in the way it was being operated” and it should be closed permanently.

Commissioners Moore and Jones agreed with Chairman Ward.

Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None

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